Special Counsel
Special Counsel
Special Counsel
Senior Associate

The education sector continues to undergo significant change. High expectations, funding pressures and changes in the legislation combine to make the day-to-day operation and longer-term strategic planning a challenging and complex task for education providers.

Pre-school, primary school, and secondary school providers

We are seeing primary and secondary schools evolving over time to meet the changing needs of increasingly diverse communities and catering to a wider range of learning needs than we’ve seen in the past. We know that principals and boards are operating in a community environment and have a complex role integrating the views of teachers, students, parents and the wider community.

Health and safety legislation changes are a key risk in this sector, and we have worked with many schools to ensure they have quality health and safety arrangements in place. In addition, New Zealand is becoming increasingly litigious, and we are also working with schools who are involved in student disciplinary matters and parent-initiated litigation. We are well-placed to assist schools with all types of disputes and investigations.

We are appointed to the panels of New Zealand’s leading professional liability and statutory liability insurers, and we work regularly with schools and boards on instruction from these insurers to assist with professional conduct and health and safety investigations. We are well-connected to insurers and regulators like WorkSafe, which means we can help ensure you achieve your objectives quickly and efficiently.

Our work with school boards and management includes:

Employment matters
  • Internal investigations
  • Teacher discipline and exits
  • Mandatory reporting to Teachers Council following exits
  • Personal grievances
  • Collective bargaining and union negotiations.
Health and safety matters
  • Planning and policies, including advice to school boards
  • Advice and advocacy following on-site incidents
  • WorkSafe investigations
  • Liaising with insurers in the event of professional indemnity claims.
Commercial matters
  • ICT procurement projects, including software and maintenance agreements
  • Supplier negotiations and contracts
  • Property work including development, zoning, sales and purchases, and leasing
  • Intellectual property.

Tertiary education providers

Tertiary institutions continue to face international competition for staff and students and will continue to enter into commercial arrangements and joint ventures both with each other and with other interested parties in the wider community. We have built considerable knowledge of the risks and opportunities facing tertiary providers.

In particular, we have significant skills in advice around:

  • Structures
  • Rights
  • Licensing
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Funding and development arrangements
  • The legal aspects of interacting with the media in terms of quantifying disclosure and liability.

The firm has longstanding relationships with some of New Zealand’s leading tertiary providers, including the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and AUT. We have advised universities and polytechs and research entities on commercial agreements, governance, tax, employment, property and intellectual property issues.

As a result of all this work, we offer tertiary institutions and research entities the advice they need to meet their obligations, secure the funding they require to proceed with confidence and participate in arrangements around the world that benefit them intellectually and financially.

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